Virtual Role Models Focusing on Community Integration
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How can we build stronger, more resilient communities? By developing leaders to transform and energise the people around them! This includes building capacity to integrate different perspectives and embrace diversity - as well as enrolling those who have traditionally felt excluded!
Our projects have already reached over 30,000 learners. We are supported by the NZ UN Convention for Human Rights, UNESCO, The Todd and Tindall Foundations in our work with over 50 organisations.
We aim to empower marginalized people and their families develop goals which will strengthen their identity as well as develop self-confidence. We can all aim for careers that we are passionate about and gain recognition whilst making the social impact we target.
Watch audio-visual stories told by empowered community leaders as well as people who have been disenfranchised such as disabled people and their families or refugees and migrants who successfully overcame challenges and engaged on their leadership pathway. They collaborated with us to develop these learning units used by community leaders, educators, parents, support workers and students. In order to empower our communities, we need to encourage collaboration between education, community and social care,
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|Section 1: Learning from role models - online|
Dreaming big is important! However, sometimes people with disabilities or their families do not dare to dream. Our research shows that people's biggest obstacle is dreaming when they move from a traditional support (receiving services from a service provider) to a self-support model (administering your own support money). So we need to facilitate the ability to learn - and how best to do it than by sharing stories!!?
In this video clip, Natasha explains how a friend of hers did allow himself to think big: he had been advised to study a trade but he really wanted to study medicine! ... He subsequently pursued his dream, but what does it say about the advice he was given?
What is a small dream you have? What is a big dream?
If you want to pursue your learning in this topic you can watch a list of interviews starting with a trailer with a taster of the type of stories on the list (screenshot below).
Attached is a pdf version of the Parent Guide that accompanies the list.
|Section 2: Natural supports and networks|
Natural networks such as families sustain us in the long run.
Lena wanted the best carer to be with her daughter Marino... How natural to look for it amongst her whanau - Carina her niece has a young child and is delighted to look after Marino - which allows the whole family to spend more quality time together. This is particularly important for certain time slots that are difficult to get support worker for. Take for instance the early morning shift... getting Marino ready in time to go to school. It is really hard to get a support worker to only come in for an hour in the morning - Carina's children go to the same school, so she brings them along to Marino's house in the morning, then they all go to school together!! On weekends, mum needs to travel for her work - no worries, Carina will make sure that Marino is able to be part of the action - and she does not have to give up caring for her own children in the process - because they love being around Marino!! Individualised funding allows you to choose your own support amongst the people who already love the person needing support - and strengthen the family naturally!!
For those who do not have natural networks around them, building new networks is very important. Families describe how they went about extending both natural and new networks and in what situations these made a significant difference. View a series of interviews about people sharing their stories of what difference building natural supports and networks made to their lives.
What support networks are working for you? Where do you need more support? Who can you ask for help? How about exploring totally new networks?
You need to gain skills and knowledge - the world is competitive and, in order to establish yourself, you have to be good and learn fast from your mistakes. "My father used to say that it's good to lose and learn from your failures" - says Eru. Losing is fine as long as you draw the conclusions that allow you to take on following opportunities.
Being surrounded by people who are good role models can inspire you to strive for the best. 'I met a great role model who was my roommate at the time. He worked like crazy! When I came back to New Zealand and thought what I want to do, that image of him working hard was my formula of success" - shares Eru.
It is never too early to explore what career you might want to engage in! Start by exploring what you are passionate about...
|Section 3: Productivity and work|
How can we help the 50,000 or so disabled youth (in New Zealand only) that are unemployed yet burning to find a way to get recognition and contribute? The concept of micro-business is gaining in recognition - and for good reasons! When applied with the right supports (as for all employment matters for the disabled!) micro-businesses support transformative experiences that give both financial freedom, raise self-esteem and provide recognition for the many talents of disabled people! Watch this playlist with more interviews on the topic.
Let's get excited about the possibilities for disabled people to explore novel ways to shape their career pathways. Our people are sick of sitting around waiting for a job offer that is unlikely to materialise! Rather we propose to assist them shape their own work experience... micro-business development offers a step by step method to explore developing a career track starting from the issues they are passionate about and develop new skills on the way!
A flexible approach ensures a safety net still protects the youth as they are learning about the business world. Download this plan here [screenshot below].
We are seeking partners to demonstrate with a proof of concept the value of sharing stories to inspire youth, their parents and support workers to uncover new possibilities - those where they are in control of their future!
This resource is showcased on the UK-based Story Bank on:http://lx.iriss.org.uk/storybank [scroll down the page to "Disabled young people create their own work experience opportunities">.
Terry’s passion is to help disabled people create their own microbusiness. Terry is ready to empower people to build on their passion to “let’s bring your talents to the fore”. Terry can share his experience to help others overcome challenges to become self-employed with the support they need to help them succeed. Terry is collaborating with a polytec to shape a tertiary curriculum so that disabled people can learn about self-employment and get credit for it at the same time – to help in their career for instance to get bank loans. We can fly with our networks! Here are the questions each person needs to answer. Why? Where? Who? What? How? When? Do you need a challenge? Terry is here to help!
Terry is also collaborating with a tertiary institution to create a micro-entrepreneurship course aimed at disabled students... more to come soon!
Click on this playlist to check out some of the stories we have collected as a pilot project.
There are some awesome examples of mainstream business partnering with organisations providing support to disabled people to train and offer open employment - view a video clip example of such an inspiring partnership to craft social integration (screenshot below).
People define success very individually. To some, success means wealth, to others - sharing and being happy. "Success is waking up every morning with a smile on your face, feeling happy about your job, your career and after all the problems a day may bring to still keep smiling!" - says Melissa. How would you define what is a successful life for you - how do you give back to your community and how do you help others?
Watch more stories from young role models on the Young Role Models playlist.
Volunteering is a major social change force, and supporting volunteers to act on their passion to help others is one engine of social change! Listen to what people report as the impact of volunteering here (screenshot of this resource below):
This research was supported by the New Zealand National Commission for the UNESCO and presented at a UNESCO conference. More information here.
|Section 4: Impact research: Social innovation for social change|
What are the mechanisms that foster social integration? There are spread over many disciplines: sociology, psychology, community development, social care, communication, etc...
The mechanisms we chose to test are those that can answer the question: how can we reduce social fear around integrating diverse people? For instance we tested a mechanism that we called 'Intentional invitations'. The movie in this lecture shows how this allowed people from very different backgrounds and capabilities to come together around a common passion - creativity. Follow this project here.
We have reported on the social impact of this intervention; download the draft report here.
This project was supported by a grant from Thinking Differently Campaign.
Helen’s son has fully engaged in the community since leaving school. He holds both paying and volunteer positions as well as in fitness training. He also enjoys taking part in the youth activities organized by his church and has grown to know peers who are also members of these groups so well that he no longer needs a support worker for most of their activities. The family uses different funding pools to pay support staff and help him integrate through his contribution. Download the pdf form below to read about the family's choice to use Individualised Funding hosted via the CCS Disability Action service provider.
Assignment: list community and social groups that you or the person you are supporting could join. Discuss pros and cons, prioritize and start from the top. What are you finding out? What are you enjoying most? Where can you contribute?
We aim to improve and know that we have done something right, i.e. have achieved something and overcome the obstacles on the way to reaching a goal. Learning from role models is facilitated by technology.
Experience our EdTed educational resource on Ted here (screenshot below).
Click here to watch more virtual role model interviews aimed at youth. Below is a screenshot from these stories.
This material has been showcased by the Human Rights Commission and recommended by teachers and youth workers who have found that young people connect to these role models virtually.
I am an Applied Researcher in the Social Sciences, specialised in the lived experience of leadership. I work in a range of domains such as Education, Innovation and the Health & Disability sectors.
Recently I have carried out research about leadership development in the Community and Health & Disability sectors to bring about a different understanding of social inclusion. Based on this, I facilitate Consumer Engagement programmes for a number of Community Service Providers. Leadership development for disabled people and their family/whanau brings about a different understanding of social inclusion. Beyond participation in their communities, people with disabilities have expertise that can not only inform service and sector development – but also contribute unique skills and knowledge in their own right. This project uses a robust known Oral Storytelling methodology developed from a research project I lead starting in 2003 for the Royal Society of New Zealand on leadership storytelling was used by over 15,000 students in our Tertiary sector.
I developed a Storytelling of Lived Experience methodology which captures on video the experiences and small steps that together create significant change. Recognition of these micro-changes allows participants to lead a “re-authoring” process in a unique way of demonstrating impact.
I trained as a Clinical Psychologist but a decade ago crossed over to the dark side when embarking on a PhD in Virtual Leadership at the Waikato Management School.
In my spare time I represent NZ Health and Disability research at the European Union Association of Service Providers to the community sector conferences.
On the home front, our research was included in the 2011 NZ Human Right Commission report as it presented virtual role models sharing their learning pointing to audiences varied in age, ethnicity, condition and socio-economic background. Some of our interviews are displayed on our YouTube channel for wide access and are approaching 12,000 views. We also disseminate our research also via our Facebook page. See for instance a trailer of Role Model interviews part of an online resource for educators who work with youth at risk. We are funded by the Todd Foundation, the Tindall Foundation and UNESCO for our educational projects with vulnerable families and by the innovation and commercialisation sector.
Even though Social Media has been perceived to be a controversial and relatively new way of marketing, I have consistently been interested and involved in expression of creative marketing ideas online.
Previous work in advertisement industry has added value to my perception and creation of brand management online, which I try to shape to a positive and inspiring image of the company throughout.
I am a goal-oriented journalist, observer and online media enthusiast. Having had experience working in a journalism area (both academic and leisure writing) has let me to a better expression of my own ideas both in the fields of published press as well as on-line.
Currently, I am very satisfied to be working with Virtual Role Model project to help establish a strong community of young people, who would inspire, empower and help each other when facing obstacles.